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Judge grants $25K reward to chef who helped convict Norwich killer

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A 36-year-old chef who came forward with information that helped prosecutors convict a Norwich man of murdering Jacyln Wirth, who was at home with her two young children at the time of the fatal shooting, will be receiving a $25,000 reward. 

Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed this past week granted prosecutor Stephen M. Carney's motion requesting that the state distribute the award to Jesse Kamienski.

Carney said he was preparing the necessary paperwork for distribution of the reward.

Lashawn R. "B.I." Cecil was convicted of murder in 2017 and sentenced to 58 years in prison.

Cecil shot blindly through the front door of Wirth's apartment in December 2011 while trying to collect a drug debt from somebody who didn't live there, according to court testimony. Wirth, 26, was struck multiple times and died a short time later.

Cecil remained at large for three years as police attempted to solve the case. In 2013, State's Attorney Michael L. Regan wrote to then Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and was granted authorization to offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Wirth's killer. Wirth's photo, and a request for anyone with information to come forward, was printed on cold case playing cards distributed within the prison system.

In 2015, Cecil was incarcerated for another shooting when Norwich police and a cold case task force gathered enough evidence to obtain a warrant for his arrest.

The evidence against Cecil included a statement from Kamienski, a restaurant chef and manager who encountered Cecil on a prison transport van while Kamienski was briefly incarcerated for nonpayment of child support. Kamienski testified at Cecil's trial that Cecil, acting cocky and arrogant, said during the ride that he "didn't know there were any children inside the room," apparently talking about when he fired his gun into Wirth's apartment.

Wirth's aunt, Peggy Lufkin of Griswold, is raising her two sons. Lufkin said recently that Kamienski had gone above and beyond to help the family and she wanted him to receive the award.

Kamienski, who appeared in his chef's uniform at a December 2020 hearing on the award, told the court he lost work at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and again fell behind on child support. He said he has been making payments, but would be happy if the reward is used to pay his children what is owed to them.

k.florin@theday.com

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